|A project organised by the House of World Cultures, the Ethnological Museum in Dahlem and the Ibero-American Institute.
The festival is organized in cooperation with the Mexican Embassy in Berlin, the Volksbühne, the Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek and Arsenal, KW (Kunst-Werke), the Museum für Naturkunde, the Brotfabrik and the Tresor. It is supported by the Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin, the Hauptstadtkulturfonds, the Auswärtigen Amt, the Mexican Foreign Ministry and CONACULTA (Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes).
This interdisciplinary festival programme aims to present a multifaceted picture ? exploding the standard clichés - of contemporary Mexican culture, showing aspects still largely unfamiliar to people in Germany.
E x h i b i t i o n s
Three exhibitions present current positions in contemporary and popular art: "Zona Libre" shows the art of Mexico?s urban centres, an art tracing the present shifts in and transgressions of borders between North and South. The exhibit ?Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art? in the Ethnological Museum in Dahlem shows a Mexico which fosters the great traditions of its folk art. "Mexico City: an Exhibition About the Exchange Rates of Bodies and Values", at the Kunstwerken Berlin, documents the status of the individual, whether human or animal, in a world in which utter poverty and obscene wealth collide on a daily basis.
D a n c e
a n d T h e a t r e
Mexico City has one of the most richly diverse theatre scenes in the world. Like the German theatre scene, Mexican theatre assumes a didactic social and political function represented by a broad spectrum of contemporary dramatists. In a long night of theatre the House of World Cultures and the Volksbühne Berlin present a sampling of the vibrant Mexican dance and theatre scene. In addition Claudio Valdéz Kuri will be introduced, a traveller between the genres who picks up film traditions from Mexico and Japan and combines then in an artful multimedia production.
Dia de los Muertos ? the Mexican Day of the Dead
A choreographic project at the Ethnological Museum with Dancers and Actors
The Day of the Dead is one of the central events in Mexican life, and a source of inspiration for musicians, dancers and writers. An ofrenda for the Day of the Dead will be set up at the Ethnological Museum, and the festival will be celebrated according to custom. The Berlin-based Mexican artists? group Calaca will be commissioned to create a production that will be realized as a spectacle involving the audience. This festival will live chiefly from the involvement of Berlin?s Mexican community.
C o n c e r t s
Co-curator: Arturo Saucedo, Mexico City
With composers such as Carlos Chaves, Mexico has a world-class modern classical tradition. Contemporary composers such as Arturo Marquez have recently been discovered throughout Latin America and in the USA as well. Carrying on indigenous traditions, confronting Western classical and modern music, crossing the borders of jazz, world music, rock and techno, a diverse and extremely ambitious scene is forming. This festival will introduce Europe to a new musical continent which has so far been known only to specialists.
Las Divas ? Mexico?s Great Women?s Voices
This concert series of Mexican divas pays tribute to the outstanding women?s voices emerging from a wide variety of traditions. Such as Lila Downs, the rising star of Mexican song, daughter of a Zapoteca from Oaxaca and an American father. She fuses the singing tradition of Oaxaca with soul and jazz influences.
Above all, it is the women singers who cultivate Mexican folksong and use it to develop new fusions with contemporary music. La Negra Graciana represents the (Black) traditional music of Veracruz. She sings ballads and son songs to the harp, accompanied by a small ensemble.
The singer Jaramar, in contrast, mixes historical instruments with synthesizers, fusing modern technology with century-old traditions.
A rock festival is an obligatory part of a Mexico program. Few countries in the world have a rock scene as lively and vigorous as Mexico?s. The ?Rock en tu idioma?, Spanish-language rock music, was not established there until the mid-80s; until then American mainstream was the norm. Here rock stands for a fusion between Mexican motifs from popular music and international pop. The invited bands focus not only on their commercial development, but on the confrontation with new music, traditional songs, son and danzon. The traditional influence in rock, ska, and now, increasingly, in hip hop, made its mark on a new, burgeoning music scene. Los de Abajo and El Grand Silencio are groups that stand for a new sound fusing indigenous, Spanish-European and Caribbean influences. The third band to play will be Nine Rain, a cross-border, intercultural project by an American, a German and two Mexicans, an ideal combination of the views and predilections of the members along with avant-garde, electronic music, new music, cumbia, salsa and son.
In cooperation with the Tresor
This program is based on thee close cooperation between Berlin and Mexico City which has developed since the Goethe Institute exported the Love Parade to Mexico City. The resulting techno spirit will be presented by Mexico City?s hottest DJs in the Tresor and the Volksbühne. On the opening weekend of the exhibition Zona Libre, DJs and VJs from the Nortec Collective ? a group of artists who have created a special style for the border region ? will spin together.
New Music and Classical Music
In Mexico, New Music plays a small yet lively and innovative role in the ?serious music? scene. The House of World Cultures introduces three outstanding ensembles selected by Marcela Rodríguez, herself a composer of New Music from Mexico City: Horacio Franco and Víctor Flores, Tambuco and the Cuarteto Latinoamericano.
F i l m
In cooperation with IMCINE and FILMOTECA of the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
No artistic medium expresses the social utopias and wishful thinking of the Mexican people as directly as their national cinematography: popular melodramas and musical comedies, along with socially critical art films by young directors, convey a many-facetted, sharply-contrasting picture of Mexico?s social situation.
The film program is made up of two series: the program put together by the two Mexican curators Ivan Trujillo and Francisco Ohem focuses on the themes of border, urbanity and modernity. The series organized by the Friends of the German Cinematheque presents outstanding films of the nineties.
L i t e r a t u r e
A n d
D i s c u s s i o n
The ?word? program of the House of World Cultures traces Mexico?s literary and intellectual tradition. It integrates and combines literary readings with intellectual exchange. It poses questions about the themes which provide the leitmotifs of the entire program. These themes are: ?urbanity?, ?cultural diversity? and ? as universal as it is specific to Mexico ? ?border?. They will be presented on three long weekends.
On the one hand, this will provide the chance to hear Mexico?s great intellectual figures such as Carlos Monsivaís, Nestor García Canclini and Elena Poniatowska. At the same time, young authors representing Mexico?s vibrant literary life will be introduced.
Co-curated by Juan Villoro, Mexico City (literature) and Nestor Garcia Canclini, Mexico City (scholarship).
The city as book: the city ? which always means Mexico City in contemporary Mexican literature ? is a many-facetted reference point for Mexican literature. The authors attempt to ?read? the city as one would read a book, seeking to interpret it like literature. The literature series at the House of World Cultures will display the spectrum of these confrontations with the city.
The city as a social construct: modern cities are a very special expression and venue of modernity. In the age of globalization, global metropolises are the crossroads of international flows of capital, magnets for global migration and places of transformation from national to transnational culture. Mexico City is an exemplary object for tracing the transformation from modern city to global metropolis, a transformation which the ?New Berlin? still has ahead of it.
Literature by indigenous authors: the indigenous population has always been one theme of Mexico?s various literary movements, though the image of the ?Indio? has been subject to constant change. Ever since the sixties, indigenous authors have increasingly begun to speak for themselves. There are close to 60 indigenous languages in Mexico, still spoken by around 10 million Mexicans. In the early 90s the Association of Indigenous Writers was founded, the Casa de los Escritores in Lengua Indigena, a forum and lobby for indigenous authors.
The curator of this part of the program, Carlos Montemayor, is a writer and expert on indigenous literature and languages in Mexico. Carlos Montemayor has edited the most comprehensive collections of indigenous literature, such as ?Los escritores indígenas actuales? (1992), ?Encuentros en Oaxaca? (1995) and ?Arte y Pleagaria en las Lenguas indígenas de México? (1998).
The discourse of cultural identity: the cultural and political debate which must be held on the themes of ?indigenous cultures? ? ?centre and periphery? ? ?cultural identity and autonomy? imbues all forms of artistic expression and is crucial to an understanding of Mexico and its contemporary art and culture.
The ?border issue? is at once universal and very specifically Mexican: Mexico as a whole represents the border between North and South, between Latin America and Anglo America, between the ?Third? and the ?First? world. At the same time, the border between Mexico and the USA has become the very epitome of borders. And Mexico is a place where a variety of differing cultures, social worlds, languages and traditions influence one another. This discussion forms the link to the exhibition in the House of World Cultures. In the literary section prominent writers from the border region will give readings, while the sociological section will be organized by the Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF). Manuel Valecuela, a scholar at the COLEF and the curator of the program, will provide an overview of the facets of life in the border region.
Mexico?s Road to Modernity
?Mexico?s Road to Modernity? is the theme of an international conference presented by the Ibero-American Institute as part of MEXartes-berlin.de. The event will be organized in cooperation with ADLAF, Germany?s major academic organization for Latin America research. In the spirit of interdisciplinary scholarly exchange, at the ADLAF conference prominent Mexican and German scholars will discuss Mexico?s path toward modernity and the particular ruptures which characterize it. The convention has been conceived as a scholarly accompaniment to the entire project, encouraging scholarly exchange on the highest international level. The following developments and tendencies will be discussed and analyzed: zones and ruptures in modernity, hybrid modernity, ethnicity, migration, gender and modernity, vehicles of modernity and the vision of modernity. Critical reflection on the process of modernity will take place primarily in artistic and academic discourses. At the same time, the convention will provide an opportunity for scholarly reflection on the diverse forms of folk culture.
Die ADLAF (founded 1965) is an interdisciplinary association of research institutions and individual scholars whose research is focused on Latin America. At this time it comprises 34 research institutions and more than 220 scholars.
I n t e r n e t
MEXartes-berlin.de - the Website
A special website will be developed for the Mexico project as an accompaniment to the program and as a forum in its own right. The platform will invite intellectual exchange and the discovery of Mexican art and culture.